The seafront scenes in the BBC1 sitcom Boomers (Fridays, 9.30pm) are actually filmed in Herne Bay, not Norfolk. Like Joyce, Alan, John, Maureen, Trevor and Carol, this seaside town in north Kent has been around the block a bit. Sandwiched between Whitstable and Margate, it was a favourite with the Victorians and it’s still a fine spot for some old-fashioned seaside fun. Here’s why.
1. There are lots and lots of colourful beach huts.
2. Herne Bay Pier has a helter-skelter! In 2008, the unsightly sports pavilion (locals nicknamed it “The Cowshed” when it was built) was finally torn down. It’s now home to pretty white kiosks, a children’s boating lake and a helter-skelter. Even the website is pleasingly retro: hernebaypier.org
3. Herne Bay has its own festival, which is sensibly called Herne Bay Festival. It’s from 20th to 28th August this year and includes a lantern parade (with a Rio Carnival theme in honour of the Olympics), sandcastle competition, fireworks display, giant picnic, crab-catching competition and Herne Bay’s Got Talent.
4. Fish and chips. This is the seaside after all.
5. Herne Bay Cultural Trail takes you around the seafront, Downs and town. Points of interest include the intriguing Brides in the Bath Murders, Smugglers and Barges and the World Air Speed Record.
6. Like neighbouring Margate, Herne Bay has recently discovered its arty side thanks to Beach Creative on Beach Street, a gallery that exhibits local and national artists. It also holds a makers market at weekends, film nights and creative workshops.
7. Ice cream parlours.
8. If it’s chucking it down, you can drive to the Turner Contemporary in Margate, a beautiful gallery built out of minimalist white cubes beside the harbour. It’s the largest contemporary art space in south-east England and – even better – it’s free. Margate also boasts recently reopened pleasure park Dreamland, a charming old town and a Michelin-starred restaurant. But that’s enough about Margate’s much-publicised pleasures because…
9. Herne Bay has an Art Deco bandstand. In the late 20s and 30s, tea dances and military band concerts were held here – twice a day to a full house if the weather was good. During WWII, anglers fished from the rooftop balcony because they weren’t permitted to use the pier. Nowadays, it houses a café and concerts in summer.
10. Reculver Country Park is a lovely place for a walk, cycle ride or bird-watching, especially if you’re a history buff. Its ruins date back to the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD when a fort was built on the sandstone cliffs. An Anglo-Saxon monastery was established here in 669, but the most dramatic sight are the Twin Sisters: two towers that were built in 12th century and stand out on the skyline for miles around.
11. Candyfloss. This is the seaside after all.
Do you know another reason to visit Herne Bay? Let us know by emailing email@example.com or leaving a comment below.